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Satellite Internet and the Game of Politics – A Fair Source Or a Flimsy Informant?

During the 2008 presidential elections, the internet became a force all its own. Rampant with the most outlandish rumors and the strangest claims, satellite internet and other connections went from being seemingly fair sources of information to open forums for the silliest minds. Barack Obama was suddenly a terrorist. And Sarah Palin’s baby really belonged to her daughter. Crazy rumor followed crazy rumor as the more gullible Americans began to believe even the most unbelievable claims.

In the post-election world, things have not gotten much better. Satellite broadband and other internet sources provide access to websites and blogs that write that the new health care package will include death panels and that the recent disaster in Haiti has come as the result of the American government’s experimentation. In reality, in the online community, you can find someone who will say just about anything.

In light of this, it is time to ask ourselves one question. Can the internet – satellite broadband, wireless, dial-up, DSL and beyond – be counted on as a legitimate source of information?

The answers – yes, answers with an s – to this question are complex.

The internet has certainly changed the ways in which we gather information. Signaled by many as the bringer of death to the newspaper and to magazines, it has quickly become the go-to source for many Americans hoping to find out more about what is going on in the world.

To a certain extent, this is a good thing. Free access to reputable news websites such as CNN, Reuters and the Associated Press allow satellite internet users to stay up-to-date on what is going on with little, if any, effort. It could be argued that it makes information available to a larger community of individuals (as most people are connected to the online community in some way today).

Nevertheless, the internet also has many downfalls when it comes to considering it as a legitimate news source. Even the most reputable websites are driven and funded by advertisers, rendering them prone to err towards the side of sensationalism instead of honest journalism. The internet also often comes with a connotation of a sort of “anything goes” attitude, rendering websites less responsible for the viability of the content they provide.

Beyond these most reputable sites, however, are the thousands of blogs and unregulated websites that feature claims with absolutely no basis. If it is hard to find “fair and balanced” information on even the Fox News website regarding politics, it is impossible to find it on most blogs. In the online world, it seems that all is fair in love and war… in politics.

What does this mean for satellite internet and political news? Not much. For the American people, however, it means a good amount of prudence and skepticism when approaching the information we find online. While the internet can be a great source of information, it can also be abused by those with hidden agendas.

The Union of the Internet and the Church

The grandest marriage man might ever witness in this life is no other than the union of the internet and the church. Administered by state-of-the-art church website designs, this marriage is not just for the benefit of a few but of the many hunger spirits worldwide. In this fast-paced world, the church can hardly keep up with the busy lifestyle of people who hooked themselves on anything potential of earning and self-gratification. The internet has served as the mainstream medium in satisfying man’s needs for survival. Financial and social opportunities come flourishing online and made people divert their focus from their religious vows.

The internet has nevertheless opened its doors for a noble purpose of helping the church fulfill its holy aim. Through getting online, the church can welcome its members anytime of the day, any day of the week. There is no more need to wait foor Sunday just to communicate. Church members and church leaders can establish stronger bridges of interaction. Church web designs have provided the opportunity for the church to imitate the services of the real church. Online prayer is one of the most sought-after services. Praying is the primary mode of link between man and Him. Through praying online, those who are constantly hooked to their computers can never neglect their chance of talking to the Almighty.

The problem of unifying a congregation is solved in every church online. Volunteer forums are readily available in the website such that visitors can sign up for programs and activities by filling out online forms. The church, in return can keep track of those who signed up. Moreover, spreading the news can be easily accomplished through mass emails sent to those who pledged for participation. A church website design is no doubt a good way to strengthen communication lines between the church leaders and their congregation. Elaborating this point is the existence of blog and sermon podacasting in every church website. Blogs will be open for church leaders to express their holy messages. On the other hand, sermon managers allow each visitor to listen to streamline versions of the gospel and download them in their home computers. This way, any church member can listen to the holy word anytime they wish.

More to the church’s benefit is the chance for online donations and tithing contributions. Money transfer is made with comfort as online church accounts will be made compatible for any mode of payment. This will give the church no hard time in managing finances and will provide soft copies of financial transactions. This only shows how church online can be as systematic as the real church.

As long as the internet thrives in the busy world, the church will flourish just the same. Beyond business goals lay the noblest of all purposes for the internet – the strengthening of human faith. Let this union of the internet and the church become our way of enhancing our faith and principles of moral conduct. No other chances will be as this good as having holistic gratification from the haywire.

10 Ways to Brand Your Internet Shopping Websites

One of the latest reports by a leading website traffic ranking site claimed that they are tracking over 133 million blogs. If you think about all the standard websites as well, this number will be even bigger. The result is hundreds, if not thousands of blogs and websites on virtually every single niche on the web. You can also bet that a good percentage of those will be offering outstanding quality content just like you do, so the competition is fierce. So how can you stand out and market your internet shopping portal effectively on the web?

In a word: Branding

Brick and mortar businesses have discovered the importance of branding decades ago, but on the Internet this is a very new trend (just five years ago you didn’t have that many websites around after all). What follows is 10 ways to brand your internet shopping portal efficiently. Branding your business as an owner is a very effective step into driving traffic to your web portal.

1. Make Your Purpose Known – You must have a crystal clear vision about the purpose of your website, and you must communicate that to the visitors as well. They must know why they are visiting your website. Why it is worth their time. The customer is always asking in their heads, ‘tell me what you have to say quickly so i can decide if you have what I need’ “I am going to write about my business” isn’t going to cut it. What part of your business you are going to write about? What angle you are going to have? Breaking news? Deep analysis? Where will the value to your readers come from? You need to be able to answer to those questions easily. Your aim is to make people associate a concept or thing with your website. If I say online video, you are going to think YouTube. If I say Coca Cola, you’re going to think soft drink. You get the idea. Now you must make this with your own website. It is not easy, and it takes time, but you should always keep this principle in mind.

2. Keeping Your Tagline Consistent – Using a tagline is not mandatory, although it can help if you come up with a really catchy and descriptive one. The important thing, however, is that you stick with it. It’s got stick in people’s heads. If you change your tagline every other month, people won’t remember it, and they might even get confused about it. With most internet shopping portals offering millions of products from partner stores, your ability to choose a niche market is great. Choosing several products of relevance to market online is a great way to start focused marketing efforts to drive portal traffic. If you are going to use a tagline, you could also consider adding it to the title tag of your website. This will make sure that the tagline will be displayed on search engines when users come across your site, reinforcing the message that you want to pass.

3. Investing Money in a Good Logo – Just like medieval castles used their flags to identify themselves, websites are identified by their logos. If you have limited money to spend on design, make sure that the logo is your top priority. These days you can get good looking logos for as low as $100 (obviously though that the more you spend the higher the quality you should get). The logo is important because it is the first thing that visitors pay attention to, and usually it is also the image that will stick on their mind once they are gone. Additionally, whenever people mention your website on a blog, they will consider using your logo as an illustration on the article, meaning that the logo itself will characterize your site even on external places.

4. Having a Consistent Writing Style – There are many studies confirming that the writing part of a blog or website is one of the main parameters that readers use to determine the overall quality of that site. You need to be consistent with your writing style if you want to strength your brand with it. It does not matter if you write bringing your personal experiences aboard or if you try to keep a more neutral tone, the important thing is to be consistent with it.

5. Making the Content Match the Design – The overall look and feel of your design must match the content. If you plan to talk about myWorld, it would be weird to have flowers on the background image, right? Identify what your core audience is going to be, and design around their perceptions and preferences. If you are going to write for professionals or older people, perhaps a traditional newspaper look would be a good choice. If your readers will be younger, a more colorful design could be used. And so on.

6. Maintaining Color Consistency – Make sure to choose a color palette and to stick with it. Colors and moods are very easy to be remembered, so use this in your favor. You could use the main color on the links, on the footer and so on. If you are going to create special images or badges for the website, make them match the overall color pattern. Also, keep a consistent set of font types throughout your blog, website, and other marketing. Online, this is called CSS, or cascading style sheets. Most popular blogs have CSS built in, but others like MySpace, allow you unlimited possibilities, and can clutter and hinder your message and your brand. Throughout the years it is a good bet that you will need to give a face-lift to you design. That is fine, as long as you keep consistent with the color readers will still feel at home, and your brand will be kept intact.

7. Using Your Website Portal’s Name on Social Media – Are you going to use Twitter? FriendFeed? Facebook? MySpace? If you are, you could create an account on each of those services specifically for your website. Then tell your network of friends about your shopping portal and post links. Social networks are a big online trend, and probably one that will last. If you manage to get your site inside those networks, your brand will rejoice.

8. Spending Money on Advertising – If branding was easy, companies around the world would not spend billions of dollars every year on advertising right? It is possible to create a strong downline without spending money on advertising, but paid promotional efforts can certainly make you reach this goal easier and faster. If you don’t have a big budget, you could consider spending money only during the initial period and on the first few months. Use the money to kick start your brand, and after that work with the content, refine your message and use the free methods. One advantage of paid advertising is that it allows you to deliver a specific message to a specific audience. If you purchase a banner on a popular blog, for example, you know who will be reading that, and you can tailor your words to pass your brand to those readers.

9. Use PPC Advertising Networks to extend your brand – Google AdWords is the most popular option under this category, but there are also others. Basically you need to sign up with the network and choose keywords related to what you are selling. The profitability of PPC advertising depends on the general traffic levels of the website and, most importantly cost per click (CPC). The CPC depends on the ability to hook your readers with a simple, effective message. Mortgages, financial products and college education are examples of profitable niches (clicks worth a couple of dollars are not rare), while tech-related topics tend to receive a smaller CPC (sometimes as low as a couple of cents per click). You will receive a higher click through rate (CTR) the better your message can convert interested web surfers into customers. The source of the traffic can also affect the overall CTR rate. Search engine traffic (the one that comes from search engines) tends to perform well because these visitors were already looking for something, and they tend to click on ads more often.

10. Spread it Virally – Branding is psychological, and you will need to get inside people’s thoughts. Sometimes this will inevitably be a numbers game. That is, the more exposure you manage to give to your brand in front of the web surfer, the longer it will stick with them. Practically speaking, use your logo and website address in a many different places as possible. Put the link on your email signatures. Write guest articles for popular blogs and put your website name on the byline. Talk about your website in online forums. Purchase advertising banners. Stamp t-shirts with your website logo on it and so on.